As a former member of Congress and one of seven openly LGBT members of the Massachusetts General Court, Carl has dedicated his life to spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS. He recently resigned from the Massachusetts House of Representatives to dedicated his life’s work as as Executive Director of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts.
SD: You recently resigned your House seat to become the Executive Director of the AIDS Action Committee – great opportunity or passion?
CS: Both, I have been doing HIV work for a long time and to continue to do it as a full-time job is great. Living with HIV myself, I feel very fortunate about being a full-time advocate for it.
SD: What is the biggest misconception that people still have in regards to HIV?
CS: Over the last decade, treatments have been so good and continue to improve for people living with HIV. The struggle can be making sure that the people who are infected are getting the treatment that they need. Like any medical condition, it does requires a lot of management.
SD: What do you see as crucial to overcoming HIV/AIDS in the future?
CS: We are on the edge of being able to end HIV and any new infections. There was a recent breakthrough in research that suggests if an HIV negative person took HIV medication, it would reduce the risk of them getting the virus.
SD: What is the most important advice to give to anyone who is infected with HIV?
CS: Harvey Milk said it best, “I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you…And you…And you…Gotta give em hope.” The message is clear and simple. If you are infected with HIV, you can still live a long and healthy life.
SD: How can people get involved with this year’s AIDS Walk?
CS: Join the walk or volunteer on June 1st; continue to spread knowledge and support. Also love and respect each other.
For more information on The Aids Action Committee visit www.aac.org